UK detects 2 cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant
Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola also added to UK's travel red list, says senior health official
The UK on Saturday announced that two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, recently detected in South Africa, were detected in the country.
"We have been made aware by @UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) of two UK cases of the Omicron variant. The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for health and social care, said on Twitter.
The two individuals are now self-isolating with their households, said Javid.
"We are also adding Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola to the travel red list, effective from 4 a.m. Sunday," said the official, adding that those who have returned from these countries in the past 10 days must isolate and get PCR tests.
"And if you are eligible for your booster jab, now is the time to get it," he urged people.
This week, South African scientists announced that they had discovered the Omicron variant, which has several mutations that may carry the risk of reinfection. The same variant was also detected in neighboring Botswana, as well as Hong Kong, and was first detected on Nov. 12-22 before being announced on Thursday.
On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the strain a "variant of concern," naming it Omicron.
Several countries around the world have now banned flights from over half a dozen Southern African nations, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini, over fears of the new variant.